- - - - - - - ✂ - - - - - - -
"Hey, look! Trash alert!"
The snickers and giggles echoed around the hallway like a chain reaction; once it started, it was carried from person to person until the generated noise was more than one could bear. Nevertheless, just one simple glare at the ringleader made everything stop. Well, at least until he assumed I thought I was too smart for him and aimed a good, hard kick at my stomach. With a pained groan, I doubled over and hugged myself tightly, gritting my teeth as I gasped for much-needed air.
"You think you're so cool, huh?" The ringleader grabbed me by the hair, forcing me to look up directly into his hideous face. "N-no..." I timidly answered back, fearing for my life. He abruptly let go and I, upon losing my balance, fell backwards onto the ground as a result with all my books flying everywhere; and once again, the chain reaction started. "Of course you're not. You're just trash after all." He snickered unpleasantly, waving around a card depicting a king of hearts in a flashy manner. "Come on, boys. Take everything he's got in his wallet." Hands grabbed at my trousers and my wallet was yanked away out of my reach before I could even say a word. "Tch. He's only got 5 measly bucks in here... Oh well. I'll take it anyway. Ah and this bus pass too."
My eyes widened in a mixture of horror and surprise. "Hey! I need that to get home!" I protested, immediately regretting my decision to talk back in such a way. As expected, yet another insult and kick was thrown in my direction and I staggered back, coughing from the impact. "Guess you'll just have to walk home then." He sniggered before pocketing his newly stolen items and walking off, followed by his usual crowd - mainly people just like him in the worst ways possible. Within due time, the rest of the people who had been observing the commotion dispersed, and I was left standing alone in the hallway with new bruises and sore spots all over my body. What a brilliant way to start off the new school semester.
Deciding to just endure it for now, I began trudging after the last few stragglers to class, my mind wandering back to the card the ringleader had been holding. I had always hated playing card games - be it poker, bloody mary or blackjack, I hated them all. As a young child, I had been forced by both my parents to learn how to play them but my disinterest in such things led to me failing to grasp the concepts of the games. And now this school only made my irrational hatred for cards increase. How could I not? I only had them to blame for all the bullying I was put through.
Presentable Liberty Private School was a school that seemed like any other through the eyes of an outsider, but to an insider like me, it was much more different. Every fortnight, a deck of cards would be dispersed throughout the entire building, and it was up to the students to find them again. Your status within the school was decided by the card you found, so the higher your card, the more respected you become. But on the other hand, the lower your card, the more 'slave-like' you are. But with a student population of 71 and only 54 cards, those who were unable to find one simply became trash - like me. We became the subjects of bullying and torture, and had no choice but to become their servants and a source of 'entertainment' to those with card privileges. Worst thing was that even the teachers didn't care, and those who did were unable to anything.
No-one had any idea as to who created this absurd law, nor why it even came into existence, but hardly anyone bothered to ask, because why protest against something that could earn you complete control over an entire school?